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Functional Characteristics of Honey

Honey Stick

Honey can serve as a natural food preservative. It has the potential to reduce enzymatic browning in fruits and vegetables and prevent lipid oxidation in meats. The table shown below, compiled from information provided by the National Honey Board, shows how honey functional characteristics can be used to enhance various applications. Honey is made when honeybees collect the nectar and sweet deposits from plants, then modify the deposits and store them in a honeycomb. Honey, known by many as the perfect food, can enhance almost any type of recipe.

Characteristic Function Bakery Beverage Cereal Confection Dairy Meat Sauce Snack Spread
Antimicrobial PropertiesDelays Spoilage X---XXXXX
Carbohydrate CompositionFlavor Enhancement -X---XXXX
ColorColoring Agent X-X-XX---
CompositionDecrease Burn Perception -----XXX-
CrystallizationTexture ---X----X
FlavorFlavoring Agent XXXXXXXXX
HumectancyAdds Moisture X-----X-X
HygroscopicRetains Moisture -X----X--
Lower Freezing PointFreezing Point Depression -X--X----
Low Glycemic IndexReduces Rebound Hypoglycemia -X-----X-
MiscibilityWater Soluble X---X-X-X
Maillard Reaction PrecursorsAntioxidation -----X---
NutritionHealthy Appeal XXXXX--XX
pH BalanceInhibits Bacterial Growth -X--X----
PreservationSlows Staling X--------
Pro-bioticEnhances Bifidobacteria ----X----
ProteinsClarification -X-------
PumpableExtrudable X--X--X-X
Reducing SugarsEnhances Browning X-X--XXX-
SpreadabilityImproves Reduced-Fat Products X-XX-X--X
ViscosityBinding Agent -XX--XXXX
Water ActivityExtends Shelf-Life X-X---X--